top of page

How to Structure a Running Routine for Weight Loss

Running can be a great way to start your weight loss journey. However, it is important to structure your running routine in a way that is both effective and sustainable for long-term weight loss.

Starting a couch to 5k program can help you lose weight by giving structure to your running routine. To make it work, start with achievable goals, decide how often and for how long you will run, increase the intensity gradually, add strength training, take breaks, and stay motivated. By following this structured program, you will reach your weight loss goals and improve your overall fitness.

Man running to lose weight

Let’s look at the best ways for creating a running routine that maximises weight loss.

Setting Realistic Goals

Before starting a new running routine, it is important to set realistic goals for yourself. You should set both short-term and long-term goals and it is important to set time frames to keep you motivated to reach your goal.

Here is a goal example you could use to lose weight:

  • Short term goal – go on 3 runs each week

  • Long term goal – Be able to run 5K in (10 weeks)

Setting goals will help you stay motivated and track your progress.

How often should you run for weight loss

One of the most important factors in a successful running routine is finding the right running schedule for you. I would recommend beginner runners who want to lose weight start small and participate in the NHS couch to 5K. The NHS recommend that you go on 3 runs per week and have a day of rest after each running day to recover. However, if you are new to running or have a busy schedule, it is okay to start with less and gradually work your way up.

My exercise plan includes 3 runs a week and this seems to be enough for most runners from beginner level to advanced runners. This is because the distance, speed and intensity of a workout altered to suit you and your running goals.

Determining the Length of Your Runs

If you are following the couch to 5k, a key factor is the length and time of your runs. If you are new to running, it is okay to start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the length as your endurance improves. If you find you can easily go a lot further or longer running sessions, you may decide to extend your running session to reach your goal faster.

It is important to listen to your body and tailor your running sessions for you. Treat the couch to 5K program as a guideline as everyone has a different experience in their running journey.

Increasing Your Running Intensity

Once you have got a regular running routine, it is important to gradually increase your running intensity to maximise weight loss. You could do this by a combination of increasing your speed, add interval training, and hill workouts into your routemen.

Strength Training

While running is an effective way to burn calories, it is important to add strength training into your routine as well. Strength training helps to build muscle, which helps to boost your metabolism and burn more calories. Runners also use strength training to reduce the risk of injury and improve your running performance. Aim to do strength training exercises at least two times per week.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are very important when it comes to running for weight loss. Make sure to take enough rest days in between your runs to allow your body to recover.

I recommend taking at least one rest day after every running day, this will help prevent injuries and ensure that you are ready to go on your next run.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated is key to a successful running routine for weight loss. Let’s looka at some tips to help you stay motivated:

  • Find a running partner or join a running group for accountability and support

  • Set rewards for reaching your goals, such as buying a new workout outfit or treating yourself to a meal out

  • Keep a running journal to track your progress and celebrate your successes

  • Mix up your routine with new routes or new music playlists


With dedication you can achieve your weight loss goals and improve your overall health and fitness. So, what are you waiting for? Start your couch to 5k journey today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

bottom of page